Manta Rays glide to boys, co-ed va’a champs


The Saipan Southern High School co-ed outrigger team wins the co-ed division championship of the Public School System Interscholastic Outrigger Canoe Race 2022-2023 last Saturday in the waters off Kilili Beach in Susupe. (LEIGH GASES)

The Saipan Southern High School Manta Rays boys and co-ed outrigger teams glided with ease to the perpetual plaque in the championships of the high school Public School System Interscholastic Outrigger Canoe Race 2022-2023 last Saturday.

The rowers from the south side continued their dominance of the waters off Kilili Beach in Susupe as the SSHS boys successfully defended their title and swept all races this season. 

They rounded up the season with a perfect 85 total points after drowning out Marianas High School and Kagman High School in the preliminaries and finals of the 500m, 1,000m, and long distance race. 

The Saipan Southern High School boys outrigger team successfully defends their championship trophy in the Public School System Interscholastic Outrigger Canoe Race 2022-2023 last Saturday in the waters off Kilili Beach in Susupe. (LEIGH GASES)

The Manta Rays showed off their skill and might with their paddles as in the final boys 500m race, they had the only time under three minutes at 2:28.37, with MHS long behind at 3:03.05, and KHS lagging last at 3:07.47.

In the final boys 1,000m race, the SSHS rowers once again claimed first place with a time of 6:25.510; runner up was the Dolphins with 6:29.19, with the Ayuyus right behind at 6:40.10.

The Dolphins finished second in every race for a total of 49 points, while the Ayuyus were third with 19 points.

In the co-ed division, the Manta Rays again outpaced the competition after totaling 72 points. They collected 32 points in the 500m race after slipping to last place in the 500m finals, but had a perfect 40 points from the 1,000m race. 

The boys and girls of SSHS finished first in the final co-ed 500m race at 3:17.44; a close second was the Ayuyus with 3:23.36; and third was MHS with 3:33.86.

In the final co-ed 1,000m race, Manta Rays won by a long shot at under seven minutes with 6:44.64. KHS were a far second with 7:13.68, and the Dolphins were last at 7:20.26.

The runners-up in the co-ed division were the Ayuyus with 38 points, while the Dolphins were behind with 34 points.

Aside from last Saturday’s final race, point totals were accumulated from races held last Feb. 25, Feb. 18, and Feb. 11. The March 18 finals rewarded double points.

The Manta Rays team include Phillip Aldan, Tyler Andrew, Yu Ling Chai, Eric David, Skye Kawgdoo, Florencio Nekai, Michael Peters, Endymion San Nicolas, Marion and Mitch Sayas, Ava Benavente, Martha Cabrera, Gracie Mendiola, Mai Janae Peters, Reianah Porras, Sadia Rahman, Jobelle Sapo, Koleen Singeru, Queenie Torwan, and Natasha White.

Coach Joe Weaver said after the championships, that the teams continue to put in not only 100%, but 110% as the competition every year is always fierce. “They did their best, but we just happened to pull out on top. A lot of hard work goes into this.”

The success of defending the boys title was because of the crew’s teamwork and cohesiveness of being together for the past couple of years, said Weaver. “They did a good job,” he added.

Four of the boys—David, Kawgdoo, and the Sayas are seniors—two of whom were in the team for all four years, with Weaver saying that they’re all special. Even with some paddlers leaving, Weaver and the team look forward to defending their title again next season and said, “we’ll put together another group and come back strong.”

As for what’s next for the members, Weaver said that a few of them will try out for the national paddling team. “They have potential, they’re really strong, and they have a lot of experience now—so they’re ready.”

Weaver then thanked everyone who helped put the outrigger event together, “special thanks to Northern Marianas National Paddle Sports Federation  president Justin Andrew and PSS athletics director Nick Gross.”

Results of the girls PSS Interscholastic Outrigger Canoe Race 2022-2023 championship will be reported in the next issue of Saipan Tribune.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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